Dating Diary Part Ten - Marriage over 50?

A lot space is devoted to advice about the art of dating and how to find love, but what’s rarely discussed is what happens after you find The One and The One has found you? There comes a point when the two of you stop dating and start having a relationship. You are now a couple. The question then is: what happens next?  

When you’re young the answer is obvious: marriage, babies and mortgages. But most of us over fifty have already been there, done that got the t-shirt and the battle scars to prove it. So what are we to do? What’s our dream?   

Me, I’d like to get married again. But I sense that it’s not a popular option. People I’ve talked to assume that if you’ve been married before and you’re of a certain age – over fifty — then the last thing you want to do is get married again. Interestingly, women more than the men I know, are more anti-marriage.  

I admit that when it comes to marriage I’m hopeless romantic — although I suspect that my ex-wives would say that I’m just hopeless. I’ve been married twice. The first time for ten years and the second time for four years. And the next time will be forever. I really believe that, although I can’t give you a good reason why that should be. But then what has love got to do with good reasons? 

The problem is that marriage has a bad reputation, so bad that an increasing number of people don’t want to do it. In 2018 the number of men and women getting married fell to an all time low. 

Ok, some people just don’t want to get married. Fair enough. But what does it say about you that the person you really love and want to spend the rest of your life with doesn’t want to marry you? Even if you don’t want to get married, isn’t it nice to be asked? 

I’ve popped the question a few times and been turned down and it hurts. They always say, Oh, it has nothing to do with you, it’s just...and here they will come with all sorts of excuses. Like, it’s too soon/it’s too late or they don’t believe in marriage as an “institution” – notice how they make that word “institution” sound ominous like, a mental institution. 

When years ago I asked a woman to marry me she said, “Why bother with marriage, it’s just a piece of paper.” To which I replied: well, if it’s a just a piece of paper, why not get married? It’s no big deal. And no, she didn’t change her mind. 

Of course marriage is not just a piece of paper or an institution. It’s a public declaration of love and intent. There are all sorts of good, sensible reasons to get married: according to numerous studies you live longer, you live healthier and you will be happier if you’re married.

But I like being married for all sorts of bad reasons. It’s an irrational, silly, absurd thing to do – how many happy marriages do you know? — and yet you do it because you’re so mad for that person you can’t help yourself. Marriage is for incurable romantics and the insane. You have to be very brave to do it – especially if you’ve done it before.

Getting married is like standing on the edge of a cliff, holding your lover’s hand and taking a leap into the great dark unknown together. Yes, you might crash and burn. But with a bit of luck and a lot of love and kindness – the two of you just might fly up to the heavens and be happy ever after.    

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